on November 21, 2012
Sam Elliott and a real reindeer - that has to be a great xmas movie!
It's one that we watch again every other year in December.
I wish there would be more like this.
It's a favorite together with "Home Alone" and "A Christmas Story" (Peter Billingsley) and the wonderful old classics like "Miracle on 34th Street" (Natalie Wood) and "It's a Wonderful Life" (James Stewart).
on November 29, 2002
This is my favorite holiday movie with such innocence through a child's eyes that makes it very refreshing to watch. But I do agree with another reviewer here that some of the issues presented (death of mother, grieving father who wants to send his child away to live with her aunt, etc...) may not be for young children. There is a scene with the little girl interacting with her mother's photograph that is very quiet and soft while being just a little bit heartbreaking. As a 17-year-old, I consider this something fun to watch now that I'm older, to recapture that innocence and better understand some of the deeper parts of it.
Rebecca Harrell gives a very convincing portrayal of Jessica Riggs, an 8-year-old little girl who is lonely after the death of her mother and just trying to do what she can to help her family make it through. Her grieving father is trying to save the farm, deal with his own pain, and raise two children all at once. He is clearly more concerned about little Jessica than he is about his son Steve, for Steve could help him around the farm, but Jessica is still so young and, in her father's eyes, needs something else. No doubt that he loves her and wants what's best for her, but he is embarrassed of himself and feels inadequate for raising a little girl, whereas all she wants is to stay with him. Through Jessica's pain and hurt, she finds a wounded reindeer in the forest and believes it's Santa's "Prancer." She takes him home, hides him from her father, and nurses him back to health, slowly but surely working to get everyone believing.
I loved Rebecca Harrell as Jessica. She annoyed me a lot when I saw this movie the first few times, but she really grows on you. She really does act like a real child: cheerful, assertive, and vigorous in her beliefs. Jessica believes that there is a Santa, and she is not going to give up on that. Harrell did very well at bringing to life a very realistic young character.
If you want an innocent holiday movie filled with "the true meaning of Christmas" and if you like that kind of stuff, "Prancer" is not a waste of money in any way.
on November 10, 2002
Prancer is a Christmas story and it is a touching depiction of innocent faith and hope but this doesn't mean you can just plop your kid down in front of it and wander off. The little girl heroine in Prancer has just lost her mother and her grieving father isnt' much help. Her sorrow and her father's pain is honestly shown and this may disturb very young or nervous children. Of course the movie wraps up with a happy ending for one and all but it is for either adults or older kids only.
on December 19, 2003
12/19/03 Purchased this VHS recently from a supermarket which carries "archival videos" at discount. I found the story entriguing ,mainly because of the strong thread around the "hope" that the little girl(Jesse) with the help of her brother(Steve) and her dad was going to evolve away from the more agressive behaviour that she'd picked up in this household (of "boys and men") excluding herself and the aunt who lived 30 miles away from this struggling farm,who came ongoingly to help them who wanted to take her to live with her husband and herself away to the better environment for a little girl.By the end of the movie you're starting to be concerned for the Reindeer,that missed her father's bullets early in the movie ,not as a "deer hunter" but as "a mercy killer" since the deer's leg was wounded (named Prancer),she does odd jobs for ecentric neighbor(played by Cloris Leachman)to get Oat money for the reindeer,gives the dept. store Santa a letter to give to "the real Santa" to inform him that she's got "Prancer" safely stodded away";unfortunately the letter exposes to all the whereabouts of the Reindeer and just when things are looking"good"(for the Reindeer)[ her dad gets paid $200 for the Reindeer to promote the Xmas Tree business], alas they give the "tree merchant" his money back,take the reindeer out of the Xmas trees merchant's safe environment to take him back to "the Antler Ridge" which is usually used for "deer hunting" and let his little hoof prints imprint that "blizzard of a snow storm" up to a cliff as she(Jesse) then wonders did he survive a fall over the cliff..the last seen is a cameo of "the Santa & his reindeer fleet" flying across the sky with a full moon in the background.Besides the movie "All My To Give"(about a group of kids whose mother dies and the oldest kid has the task to give the kids to various families whom he thinks are best for raising his brothers and sisters):made sadder with a chained melody of flute music in the background ,this movie "Prancer" was one of the "most thought provoking "children's movies" I've seen through the years.
on November 17, 2002
"Prancer is one of the sweetest holiday movies I have ever seen, and also one of my favorites. It is very sensitive and captures those precious and heartwarming aspects of Christmas that make a good holiday film. I remember watching this with my mom when I was younger, and we still like to pull it out during the Christmas season; it will always be special to us.
The story is simple yet enchanting: a gruff, headstrong, and somewhat distant single father is trying to keep up his declining farm as he struggles to raise his two young children. His 8-year-old daughter Jessica, the evident strength of the family, is a lonely yet faithful little girl trying to cope with her mother's death while doing her best to keep the spirit alive for the approaching holiday season. When she finds an injured reindeer in the forest, she clings to the idea that it is Santa's "Prancer," and she takes it upon herself to bring him home and nurse him back to health so that Santa can come for him on Christmas Eve. Prancer becomes a friend and a source of comfort as Jessica struggles to make believers out of her family and friends; however, when Jessica is injured herself and loses much of her faith in Prancer, it is the people around her who must convince her to once again believe in the magic of Christmas.
The storyline is beautiful, and the acting is strong. Little Rebecca Harrell is perhaps one of the most endearing child actresses I have seen in any film. Her personality and strength of character with the role of Jessica in this movie is different than what you typically see; she will melt your heart and warm your soul. Sam Elliott is also very consistent and good in his very complex and difficult role as Jessica's father, a seemingly hard man with a special softness deep inside that only his spirited little daughter can bring out. The other actors and actresses help hold the movie together and make it the endearing family film that it is. This is truly a very special holiday film that the WHOLE family can watch together and enjoy, and I recommend it for the upcoming holiday season!!!!
on January 5, 2001
Prancer is the story of a little girl named Jessie and her love for an injured reindeer whom she believes is Santa's reindeer Prancer. It is a lovely story of faith and love. Jessie has recently lost her mother, and now she and her brother and father are alone. Because crops are failing, her father decides she is to go live with her Aunt Sarah, but Jessie doesn't want that. She proves to her father and everyone around her that she is needed at home with her brother and dad, not with her Aunt Sarah. She further proves the bond between people in a small town and how they stand up for each other in a time of crisis.
Her favorite story is the story of a little girl named Virginia, a true life child who wrote a letter to Santa Claus, and the letter wound up in the hands of a newspaper editor. She wanted to prove there really was a Santa Claus and the newspaper editor said, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus..." This true life story happened around 1900. So when Jessie goes to visit the "helping" Santa Claus at the mall, she tells him to deliver a letter to the "real" Santa, that she has Prancer and that she wants to meet Santa up on a cliff so that Prancer can be reunited with Santa. This letter finds ITS way to a newspaper editor, and before long the entire town knows about this loveable reindeer.
This is a video for children ages 2 to 102, and I give this movie 5 stars for being so entertaining and wonderful, and for bringing tears to my eyes every one of the 100 or more times I've seen it.
on December 10, 2000
Actually, I give this movie 4 1/2 stars. I enjoyed "E.T." as a child, but as an adult I find it slow. This movie follows the same pattern and improves on it. (An innocent child is having a difficult life; a child hood fantasy intervenes; the child's dedication to their childhood fantasy influences the people around them for the better.) The scenery is gorgeous, and the music (without a lot of effects) is perfect. Sam Elliott performs his role to perfection. While he seems harsh and stern, his behavior is understandable. We can see that he deeply misses his wife, and that he is struggling to support his children. The scene where Jessica spends time with her mother's picture is short but well done. It is interesting how Jessica is able to link her faith in heaven with her belief in Santa. Also notable is the fact that even though the people in town probably do not believe (at first anyway) that the reindeer is Santa's, they are deeply moved by Jessica's dedication to it. One deeply moving scene is when Jessica is desperate to make money to feed Prancer. Her fear of Cloris Leachman has already been established, and she dares another meeting to Cloris when she becomes desperate for the reindeer's well being. It is also moving that we get to know Cloris, and she too is moved by Jessica to the point that she reenters society. The ending where the reindeer's role reconciles Jessica and her father is infinitely touching. (In "E.T." too much of the plot revolves around E.T.'s role as an alien. In this movie the situation between Jessica and the people around her is more emphasized. The reindeer accomplishes his purpose without stealing the movie. Even when we find out that the reindeer really is Prancer, the scene is done short and exquisitely. We see Santa's sleigh fly by, and the plot returns to Jessica and her father.) My only complaint about this movie is that Cloris Leachman could have been explained more. The author would have done good to tell us (even if only briefly) why she lives the way she does. If the author had done this, I would have considered this an exquisite masterpiece. This is probably one of the best Christmas movies ever made.
on December 11, 2002
"Prancer" is the story of young Jessica (Rebecca Harrell) who truly believes in heaven and in Santa Claus. After a wooden reindeer falls from above the street after Santa's wooden sleigh and wooden reindeer are hung above the street, the reindeer is Prancer. There is a gap where Prancer used to be. Jessica later finds a reindeer in the woods, and she realizes it is the real Prancer. She tries to nurse it back to health after he's injured despite what her father (Sam Elliot) thinks. Later the whole town hears about it. After she's involved in an accident while trying to free Prancer after being put into captivity when her father sells him, the whole townspeople from the gruff veterinarian (Abe Vigoda), to a lonely aging bright red-haired neighbor (Cloris Leachman) give a party for her. Her father understands then, and they take Prancer up to Antler Ridge for Santa to come and get him. This is a perfect film for everyone to enjoy around the holidays.
on January 1, 1999
Here is a story that brings us all back to what Christmas is all about faith, love, hope, and family. This film tells the story of a young girl, Jessica, that keeps the joyous feeling of Christmas in her heart all year long. Her mother has died and her father is struggling to raise a son and daughter as well as a failing farm. Circumstances seem too much, and he contemplates sending Jessica to live with a nearby aunt. This upsets Jessica because family is as important to her as Christmas, especially as she has already lost one parent. While this is going on, Jessica discovers an injured reindeer, and she needs to help him as "he is one of Santa's ". With an injured reindeer and an injured family, Jessica applies the necessary healing with hope, faith and love. Her true innocence and undying belief in all that is good and wonderful (God and Santa) brings a family and a town together in a joyous celebration.
on November 29, 2002
This film is neither preachy nor commercial, despite it's name and cover art. I happened to see this on HBO one afternoon while still in college eight years back, but the impression was lasting. Most specifically the scene when Jessie's father reads the story to her which allows a healing and a renewed bond between them. I was just a selfish kid then and have no idea why this film spoke so strongly to me, but I think often of that moment. With a six-month-old son now I see everything with different eyes and wish for him to be able to live as long as possible in Jessie's world because it is rough work in the apple orchard. Already I can see in his eyes that heart of childhood that had started to seem for me so gray and distant, and I look forward to watching this movie with him one day when he's old enough as I believe its message will endure.